JOHANNESBURG, Publishers Penguin Random House South Africa has announced that it is immediately withdrawing the book, Mandela’s Last Years, written by a doctor who was among the medical team who cared for the iconic former South African leader, and that no further copies will be issued.
The publisher said here Monday that this was being done so out of respect for the late Nelson Mandela’s family, some of whose members had complained about the publication of the book.
Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, had threatened to sue both the author, Dr Vejay Ramlakan, and Penguin Random House, for allegedly insulting her late husband’s dignity.
In “Mandela’s Last Years”, Dr Ramlakan shares intimate details of how South Africa’s first democratically-elected president amazed doctors with his mental and physical tenacity, even till the last day. Ramlakan, who led Mandela’s medical team from 2005, says the book was written to set the record straight about Mandela’s last years from the account of people who were responsible for taking care of his medical needs.
This book caused a stir upon its release last week, disappearing from shelves in various book stores. Two hours after the announcement of it being removed, a statement was released stating the withdrawal of the book from trade after Graca Machel and the Mandela family expressed dissatisfaction.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has welcomed the decision by the publisher, stating that the book had numerous inaccuracies.
Meanwhile, The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) says no complaints were laid with the council.
According to the council, doctors are not permitted to speak about their patients unless given consent by affected parties.
Dr. Kgosi Letlap, the HPCSA President, added: In terms of our ethics, one of the key rules of the profession is confidentiality — whatever is between me and my patient stays between us and I will protect that. If the family then brings it to us we will then react.
Efforts to contact Dr Ramlakan were unsuccessful.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK